13 June, 2021

In History's Presence

An insider's perceptive account of the 'Indira is India' era Indira Gandhi, The Emergency and Indian Democracy

In History's Presence
NO part of our recent history compares with Indira Gandhi's first years in power for political drama and momentous change. War, high diplomacy, a nuclear test, internal strife leading to the Emergency, electoral triumph and debacle, and much else besides mark this period. Mrs Gandhi achieved unparalled dominance at home and a formidable reputation abroad till it all came tumbling down in the 1977 elections. For virtually this entire period in the 1970's Prof P.N. Dhar was secretary to Indira Gandhi, head of her secretariat, in the innermost sanctum of the state, one of the tiny band of indispensable advisors. He had come a long way from his early training as an economist and profession as a teacher. Clearly he has much to tell and though this volume has been long in coming, it is certainly well worth waiting for.

A word of caution: those looking for secrets and scandals will be disappointed-though there are a few juicy tid bits to encourage the persevering reader. The first few chapters constitute a personal memoir of growing up in Kashmir-an absorbing and very...

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